While researching for my current WIP, "The Way of Impressions", I've come across a lot of information about life in the 18th century, and thought I would share my findings :-)
A pistol could only fire one shot before it had to be re-loaded. A bullet was called a "ball".
A rich man's servants wore a uniform called a "livery".
A "Post-Chaise" was an enclosed carriage with scenic front and side windows. Instead of being driven by a coachman sitting at the front, it was guided by a "postillion"or post-boy, who rode on one of the horses. There was only one-forward facing seat inside the carriage, and an additional rear seat outside the carriage, usually occupied by the important accompanying servants. The luggage was stowed in the "boot" where the coachman's bench would have been, on a platform. There were no handles on the inside of the carriage. You were inside of it until someone opened the door for you (unless you didn't care to break the door and kick it open).
Because of dangerous highwaymen (thieves), it was unwise to travel without guards. Especially if you were wealthy.
While people of this time period weren't every day bathers, they did bathe. It was believed that cold water was good for the body and could cure illnesses. The wealthy often had cold baths or plunge pools on their properties, and enjoyed spas almost as much as the Romans did their bath complexes. They also flocked to the seaside, believing that saltwater had healing properties. Ladies wore a tunic-like undergarment called a "chemise" as a bathing suit, although, if a lady was seen in her chemise, it was the equivalent of being seen naked.
Women were still viewed as simpletons, and treated as the property of a father or husband.
Women wore hair pieces or extensions instead of wigs, and greased both their natural hair and hair pieces to blend the color and encourage the hair powder to stick. Hair powder began to die out toward the last part of the century in favor of natural hair, but hair powder was still used for court socials and balls.
It was more scandalous for a woman to show any part of her legs or ankles than to expose her breasts.
A wealthy woman carried necessities such as a watch, seals or keys in a chatelaine, a gilded purse-like contraption she tied to her waist.
Sleeve cuffs were not permanently fixed to a woman's gown. They were pinned on to vary the style.
A person did not call upon an a friend or acquaintance's residence without a personal or business card. To do so would be to risk the embarrassment of being turned away at the door. Calling cards were the Facebook of the 18th century. They were displayed on a tray in public view, so that the host could show off their connections.
It was a widely held belief that country air carried diseases.
The difference between pirates and privateers was only this: privateers had a license to kill and pillage ships, granted by a country's ruling authority.
If you were one of the 500 babies out of 1,000 to survive the age of two, you're average life expectancy was thirty-five years. Fifty was a ripe old age.
You plan to attend a Halloween party and the host has asked you to come dressed as a character from one of your favorite books. When you arrive at the party, you are shocked by what you see. The goal is to respond to this writing prompt in 500 words or less.
“Oh, Gwen, look at this!” Leah gasped, hurrying over to a mannequin wearing vintage khakis and a blue pullover sweater.“This screams ‘Ellie the Photographer’!”
“Yeah, but where am I going to get her Lecia camera?"
“We can make one.All we need is cardboard, markers, glue and a little imagination.”
“I don’t know, Leah.I’m starting to have second thoughts about this party.I don’t really celebrate Halloween.”
Leah rolled her eyes.“Yeah, you’ve told me that.But this is a costume party.And not just any costume party – it’s a book nerd’s dream come true!For once in your life, you get to be the heroine from your favorite book series ‘The Zion Chronicles’!You can’t back out of this!”
I rummaged through the different sizes on the display table and picked out a medium-sized sweater and size eight khakis. I shot Leah a resigned look.“Okay, okay, I’m buying them.”
“And I’m going to the costume party.”
Leah patted my back.“Good girl.Now we need some hair dye.”
“Doesn’t Ellie have red hair?”
I sighed and followed Leah to the checkout counter.“Let’s make that temporary hair dye.”This party better be worth it.
The night of the costume party arrived. I scrutinized my new red hair in the full-length mirror, actually feeling excited.The vintage sweater and khakis looked great.I made a circle in front of the mirror.It doesn’t look costumey enough.Oh, well.It’s too late to change my mind now.
Leah honked her car horn outside.
As I was saying.I grabbed my cardboard Lecia, on which I had attached a real camera lens, and left the house.
“Come on, come on!” Leah urged as I opened the passenger door of her Honda Civic.“This is one party we don’t want to be late for.”
I took my seat and closed the car door, smiling at her lace-edged red dress and red lipstick.“I don’t think that Emerald from ‘The Buccaneers’ series would have worn rouge.”
Leah shrugged and started the car.“She does now.”
Ten minutes later, we turned onto Chance Lane and pulled up in front of the fourth house on the left.The street was already a parking lot.Butterflies danced in my stomach as we climbed out of the car and headed for the front door.
Leah rang the door bell.
The front door opened.
I gasped.There before me stood a handsome man wearing a leather flight jacket.Ellie’s David!There he was in front of us, as if he had just stepped out of “The Return to Zion”!But no…it was only a book.This guy only looked like the character I had created in my head.
“Please, come in,” the man said, stepping aside.
We entered the house, and the man kept staring at me.Finally, he held out his hand.“Hi, I’m David.”
I loved the history weaved into the story. The author described everything about a first-century Roman town, from the raised stones for crossings streets, to the layout of the Forum and amphitheater. If you're a Roman history buff, you'll appreciate this one.
The story line was excellent, but a tad bit unbelievable. The author insinuated that Romans had never before seen a female gladiator. From my own research on the time period, I have learned that were female gladiators, and Emperor Nero especially liked them. A female gladiator was called a "gladiatrice" (plural being "gladiatrix"). They were "novelity" entertainment, and fought without armor, wearing only loincloths.
The narration by the Mountain Vesuvius was awesome! That was unique, and one of the book's winning qualities for me. It put me in mind of the narration in the "Lord of the Rings" movies.
The romance between the two main characters was very subtle, and even at the end, there wasn't much kissing. Personally, I like kissing scenes, but if you don't, then this might have just the right amount of chemistry for you.
I'm giving it four stars :-)
Back cover blurb: "Pompeii, a city that's many things to many people. For Cato, it's the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato's sister, he must oust the man from power to save her.
For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold into a gladiator troupe. Her anger fuels her to fight well, hoping to win the arena crowds and reveal her gender at the perfect time. Perhaps then she will win true freedom.
But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy Ariella and Cato, who are thrown together in the battle to survive. As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, leaving the city lost to the world."
2. Pass the award on to 15 other bloggers. Leave a comment on each blog, telling them that you've nominated them for this award.
Thanks to Rhonda from Ritty's Adventures in Writing for nominating my blog for this award! Rhonda's blog is a must-have resource for writers. Please stop by and check out her guest posts, Mid-week challenge exercises, Friday lists of helpful blog articles and websites, and more.
Seven Things About Me:
1. I am not a cold weather person. You can keep the beauty of Alaska and Canada, and I'll take the dry heat of a Texas summer. :-)
2. I am a cat person who has a dog. (I love Harlee though -- she's not a yapper, and she's protected us and our home on several occasions.)
3. My husband and I will be making our 9th move in 7 years on Friday. I know, right?
4. I can play the piano, and I admit I haven't been practicing like I should. Mainly because I hate the keyboard I have, lol.
5. My favorite movie of all time is "Bringing Up Baby" staring Katherine Hepburn and Carey Grant. "Be with you in a minute, Mr. Peabody!"
6. I have a hard time climbing or descending staircases that are open between the steps.
7. I was homeschooled during my high school years.
If you are one of the 15 blogs I nominated and would like to pass it on, copy the blog award to a post, reveal 7 things about yourself, and pass this award on to 15 other bloggers of your choice. Congrats!
Matthew 7:21-23 is one of the scariest scriptures in the Bible.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'" (NASB)
This scripture is scary because Jesus is talking to people who call themselves Christians. They are not Buddhists, Muslims or Atheists. These are people who prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles in Jesus' name. I don't know about you, but I haven't prophesied, cast out demons, or performed any miracles, and I tend to think that people who do this stuff have it all together in their walk with God.
But, if you look again at this scripture, you'll see that Jesus says two things that should not be missed: 1) "he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter". 2) He says to the people He's rejecting, "you who practice lawlessness".
So, Jesus is saying that it's possible to look like a Christian, think you're a Christian, have the ability to perform miracles, and all the while you are not doing God's will. In fact, you're practicing lawlessness.
What does it mean to practice lawlessness?
Merriam-Webster defines lawlessness as "not restrained or controlled by law: unruly". Jesus is without a doubt talking about God's laws, so these "Christians" do not govern their lives according to God's will or laws.
So now we're starting to see the problem with these people. They want to call themselves Christians, they want to look like Christians, but they don't want to be governed by God. (And yes, they are not real Christians and they never were real Christians. Jesus wouldn't have said "I never knew you" to those He once knew.) They've deceived themselves into thinking salvation is only a matter of believing in Jesus, reciting the Sinner's Prayer, and making a public profession--that submission/obedience to His commands is simply something you should do, not a requirement. They love their own will and desires instead of God's. They make excuses for disobeying God's laws, and convince themselves that He's okay with it. They're like the Pharisees Jesus described in Matthew 23 as "whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean." I thought of the Taj Mahal. It is beautiful. It attracts a lot of attention and admiration. But it's still a tomb.
Is there hope for these people to come out of deception and see the truth? There is.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2 (NASB)
"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)
We can ward off deception by spending time in God's Word daily, feeding our spirits and renewing our minds. This is such a vital part of "abiding in the vine", and sadly, it's so neglected. How can we trust our fallen human minds to know which way to go, or what is the right thing to do? How can we be sure of God's perfect will by relying on prayer alone?
If you're not in the habit of reading God's Word daily, take baby steps. Commit to a certain time every day, even if only for a few minutes. Set the alarm on your phone so you don't forget. If you don't know where to begin reading, start in the book of John with chapter one. Don't be afraid to stop and soak in a verse that presents a lot to take in. Open your mind to whatever God would show you, and ask Him for His help.
He's waiting for you to read His love letters to you. So go ahead! Get your Bible and start reading it!
I have avoided the idea of re-editing "For the Sake of One Lost" for three months. After all, it's a fun read with a powerful message, and every publisher should love it just as much as I do. And they do, in my perfect world. The problem is, I live in reality.
When I finished the manuscript earlier this year, I was proud of my accomplishment and anxious to show off my "prized baby" as every novice writer is. I had not yet begun to research on the requirements publishers typically set for query letters, synopses, and submitted manuscripts, and when I finally did turn my attention to this, I found my story's Achilles' heel: the word count.
For a first-time writer, I've learned that the word count should be between 80,000 and 90,000 words. Mine is a whopping 138,878 words. I ignored it in June, but now I cannot ignore it. Before I start sending out samples of my manuscript en masse, I need an ideal word count. Otherwise, publishers may toss it at the query letter.
If I split the book in half, and made it two separate novels, I would be within the ideal range. Sounds simple enough, but this presents a big plot problem. The second book would awesome, but the first book? It would need a major renovation.
I have played with the idea of setting it aside until "The Way of Impressions" is published. I'm about halfway through my WIP at 35,000, so keeping it within the ideal word count won't be difficult. And if I can show off a published book in my bio when querying "For The Sake of One Lost", maybe publishers would be more willing to give it a chance?
I think I have finally made peace with the idea of transforming it into two different books, despite the major work ahead of me. How unpleasant can it be? Pearl and Trey are the first characters I ever created, and they're my favorite by far. It will be fun to revist their story. Besides, if I'm going to try to make a career out of writing, I need to learn to face the dreaded "edit" with brave determination. At least this time I won't be under deadline pressure. That's something to be optimistic about!
Many Christians dread the night of October 31st. The night when kids and adults alike dress up as witches, goblins and ghosts to attend parties, visit "haunted" houses and go door-to-door for candy in traditional celebration of the Celtic festival, "Samhain".
Photo by Juushika Redgrave
I do not condone dressing up as witches, goblins and ghosts,and I certainly do not endorse Halloween as a holiday to be celebrated. But. I think that Halloween presents Christians with a rare ministry opportunity that should not be ignored.
A lot of churches offer "alternative" parties and "horror" houses for kids, and this is a great ministry. I was very involved in my church's outreach as a teenager. We called it "Hallelujah Night", and dressed up as Bible characters, offering candy, games, toys, and a fun video with the gospel message.
As a new mom, I often find myself at home on Halloween night, but I don't hide from the little kids and turn off all the lights. Jesus certainly wouldn't. Instead, I go to the store and buy bags of candy, gospel tracks and other witnessing paraphernalia in both English and Spanish. You can find them online or at Christian bookstores. Here's a few sites I like:
I'll admit, the title had me hesitating. I'm one of those people that usually stay clear of anything having to do with witches. But because it was advertised as an Edgy Christian Mystery, I decided to give it a chance, and I'm so glad I did.
"Days before Christmas in Elk Park, Colorado, genealogist Anna Denning discovers a client's body. When she starts asking questions no one wants answered, she becomes the killer's next target. Still grieving the death of her husband, Anna must draw on her wounded faith to enter a world of wicca and paganism — reminders of a past she buried long ago — and discover the secret of The Witch Tree."
I loved Kaufman's clear writing voice. It really bothers me when the writing gets in the way of the story. That's my biggest pet peeve - as both a writer and an avid reader. Only a talented writer can make scenery descriptions add flavor to a book, and make you want to grab your coat and a cup of hot chocolate as you read about how cold a December in Elk Park, Colorado can be!
Her characters were very believable and life-like, and I loved Anna's character most. Ever wish for the perfect words to say in a confrontational situation? Anna truly has a gift for her witty comebacks, and I love that she refuses to be intimidated or back down from a fight. Jazmin has made friends with the wrong people, desperate to belong and feel acceptance. You can't help but feel for her, and think of all the teens that are drawn to "Harry Potter" and the like.
The references to witchcraft are informative but not unnecessarily detailed. I liked the way Kaufman made fun of it all, showing that without intimidation and scare tactics, witchcraft doesn't have a leg to stand on. There were a few "d***" and "h***" words thrown in there, and I'm guessing that's the reason it was labeled "edgy". It didn't bother me.
If you're a geneology buff, a dog-lover, or prefer the romance element subtle, you're going to like this book. I give it five stars. Karin Kaufman has done a superb job wit her debut novel, and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.
I am constantly checking the traffic sources to my blog, looking to see what people have typed in searches before stumbling upon my ramblings. One such search was "where is God in the midst of tragedy"? My heart immediately went out to the person who typed that search. Coincidentally, as I pondered writing a blog to answer this hard question, a friend told me that a member of her church passed away this weekend, leaving behind a husband and three children under the age of ten. Please remember this family in your prayers. I cannot imagine what they are going through.
So what was God thinking? Was He taking a coffee break when tragedy struck this family? Why did He allow cancer to suddenly take the life of a wife and mother of three small children? Didn't He know that they needed her? Why does He allow bad things to happen to good people? God showed me the answer to this question in a profound way while I was writing the draft for my now completed novel, "For the Sake of One Lost".
For a moment, let's peek in on a conversation between God and a character we'll call "Sally". Sally is standing before the throne of God Almighty, giving an account of her life on earth.
"Why did You take Peter from me? We had only been married a year. Couldn't You have allowed us just a few more years together?"
"I know this is hard for you to understand, Sally. You must believe that I work everything for the good of those who love Me and are called according to My purposes. If I had given you a few more years with Peter, you wouldn't have started going back to church. You wouldn't have re-dedicated your life to Jesus. You wouldn't have started The Quilt Ministry. Because of Peter's death, you started seeking Me and using the talents I gave you to build My Kingdom."
"There had to be a way to get my attention without ruining my life."
"Sally, it did matter to Me that you were suffering. In fact, I suffered with you when you lost Peter. But I allowed it because I saw that your suffering would produce spiritual fruit. And not only in your life -- as you allowed Me to give you beauty for ashes, the lives of others were impacted. That was more important to Me than your happiness with Peter."
"What about the children starving in Africa? Are they suffering for the purpose of salvation and spiritual growth? Come on!"
"Because of sin, life on earth is full of pain, hardship, heartache and death. I never intended for my precious creation to be subjected to that. It's breaks My heart."
"Well then fix it! You're God! You can take away the war, famine, poverty and disease! Why do You let people live like that?"
"Yes, I could put a stop to it all right now. And in fact, a day is coming when I will do it. I will lift the curse of sin and renew the earth. It will be paradise again. But it cannot happen until every person who has ever lived has been judged according to their works, be they good or bad, and My Kingdom has descended to the earth. I am a Holy God. Though I love people, I cannot tolerate or excuse sin. I cannot dwell among people until the sin is gone.
"By allowing life to continue as it is on the earth, I am being merciful to those who are still living on it. With every day, I am giving them another chance. I don't want anyone to be separated from Me for eternity in hell. Hell wasn't created for people. But at the same time, I won't interfere with their ability to choose to live apart from Me."
"Okay, so if the whole point of life is to accept Jesus so they can be with You for eternity, then why do you allow Christians to continue to suffer in a sin-cursed world after they invite Jesus into their lives? Why didn't you take me to heaven as soon as I became a Christian?"
"If I took all of my children to heaven just as soon as they accepted Jesus, who would go and tell the others about Me? I choose to minster to the world through My children. I need them to remain on the earth to do a job for Me -- to spread the good news of the gospel to those lost, hurting and dying apart from Me -- not to live the life of their dreams."
Okay, we're back. What did you think about that dialogue? Yeah, it's sounds kind of gloomy and discouraging for life in this world, but the truth is, life in this world is gloomy and discouraging because of sin. It truly breaks God's heart to see us suffering the effects of evil. He never wanted that for us. And yes, sometimes He will allow war, hunger, disease and death to touch His faithful servants for the sake of someone's relationship with Him and life in eternity. Take the life of Job in the Bible, for example. He was a righteous man, yet he lost his wealth, his children and his health as God allowed him to be tested. And he was richly rewarded in this life,and in the one to come for his faithfulness to God in the midst of tragedy.
Psalms 34:18 tells us that God is close to the brokenhearted. That He saves those who are crushed in spirit. Verse 19 says, "A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all" (NIV). 1 Peter 5:7 says, "cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you". So when you must weather the storms of life, take comfort in knowing that He's right there beside you and and that He cares about you. Even when your emotions tell you otherwise. You can't trust your emotions. You must trust in His Word and faithfulness instead.
This life is brief, like a flower blooming and dying in a vase. Whatever we had or didn't have in this life won't matter in eternity. Whatever we experienced or didn't experience won't matter. This is all that will matter: Did you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior? What did you do with the talents and people God entrusted to you? What did you do for the Kingdom of God?
I'm very excited to say that I'm writing my very first guest post today! I'm talking about balancing life and writing over at "Ritty's Adventures in Writing". http://rittywrites.blogspot.com/ Please stop by and leave her some comment love!
In celebration of my seventh wedding anniversary, I've decided to share my wedding day story. It wasn't the elaborate, expensive and romantic dream every girl desires. Far from it.
October 1st, 2004. I awake to the knowledge that it's my wedding day, but it doesn't feel real yet. I spend the morning at my friend's house, seeing to last minute details on the decorations. We head over to the church around noon, and my best friends, Ginny and Samantha, work on setting up the decorations with my mom and sisters. At some point, the flowers arrive at the church and the bouquets are arranged, so I'm no longer worrying. Everything is falling into place. I remember being calm as Christine worked on my hair. No jitters. No worries. I was actually excited. It was my wedding day.
Everything was in fast-forward as evening approached. The music was starting. The guests were arriving. I was getting nervous. My dad squeezed my hand at the back of the sanctuary as my bridesmaids and groomsmen began to walk up the aisle.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" He asked me. He didn't know David. All he knew is that I met some guy at work six months earlier, and now wanted to marry him.
"Yes, I do," I told him confidently, doing my best to reassure him in the moments before we would walk the aisle together. Dad and I hadn't had much time to talk during the whirlwind of events that had happened since his arrival from Moscow two days earlier.
It was time. We started down the aisle. But not to the the traditional Bride March I thought I had picked out. This version of the Bride March was sung by a choir. Why hadn't I listened to the whole CD the day before? I stiffened and momentarily panicked, but quickly got over it. We were at the altar.
David smiled at me as I moved to stand with him before the pastor, and I smiled back. I was super nervous now. Not over marrying David. I get stage fright. Big time. The ceremony went by smoothly, until David and I went to the candelabra to light the unity candle. This is how nervous I was: instead of blowing out the single candle lit by my mother, I blew out the unity candle. And I didn't even realize what I had done until we were back at the altar.
The pastor asked the question, "Do you have the rings?"
Ginny had my ring, but David looked worried. My eyes widened as he began to search his pockets. No.... Then little blond-headed Jared walks back up to the altar and solemnly presents his pillow. David's ring was on it. So I can say in all truth, that my little brother saved my wedding. I don't remember what the pastor said, but everyone had a chuckle over that.
We had our reception in the youth room, and now that I look back on it, I wish we could have rented a bigger room in a community center, and had more than just cake to offer everyone. But when you're twenty-four, in love, and marrying on a tight budget, things like that don't matter at the time. I also wish we had spent the money on a cake - even a cake from Albertsons or something. But no, me and my friend decided we were going to make the three-tiered cake. How hard could it be? Well, let me just say that it wasn't a good idea. We didn't know what we were doing, and placed the tier pillars on the cake layers, instead of on tier plates. You can imagine what happened. We lost a tier of cake to the floor, may it rest in peace.
The last embarrassment of the evening was the song we danced to. A friend had been in charge of David's music list -- a list explaining what song to play and which CD the song was on. We had meant to dance to "The Reason" by Hoobastank (a song that continually played on the radio when David was struggling against my initial rejection) or "Not A Moment Too Soon" by Tim McGraw, but that's not what we danced to. The song we danced to was a song about lovers in bed together, and I don't even know what the song was called, or who sang it. I just remember blushing and laughing my head off the whole time. Might as well laugh as cry, right?
So it may not have been the wedding of my dreams. That's okay. With my memory, I needed a wedding I won't easily forget. Besides, its the actual marriage, not the wedding day that matters. It's been a crazy seven years. But if I could, I wouldn't go back and change anything. Well...maybe the cake incident, and the song... But I'm so glad God gave me David. He is a great husband, and a terrific father. A man of God, and the man that God gave me to minister to. He's also my best friend.
Happy Anniversary, Babe. I love you, forever and always.